Sunday, 5 July 2015
Pina Colada Loaf
Hi lovely readers! The original intention in my writing this blog was to bring accessible recipes to people's attention and to show that it isn't difficult to find recipes in various places, from books and magazines to the internet: websites and places like Pinterest, and also that ingredients you may have thought were somewhat obscure are actually quite easily within your reach to source and cook with, and then feed them to your family and get them to enjoy what they are eating and develop an adventurous spirit of taste. That intention remains, but something which I never intended is also manifesting itself in my mind; to create recipes of my own to make available to you. I can't pretend this is some new-found skill I've suddenly developed. I actually find it really hard to come up with original recipes, unless I have a couple of starting ingredients and something from which to work, such as my Creamy Cod and Leeks with Linguine recipe, for which I had a (simple) starting point.
Lately though, I've been considering bread and the endless additions one can make to a dough to create something really interesting and different in taste and texture. I'm fascinated by the idea of using bread as a base for other flavours which are typically encountered together, but uniting those flavours in a loaf of bread rather than on a plate as separate entities. I can't remember exactly when the idea sprang into my head of using dried pineapple, and then adding coconut to it, but it did evolve from a little seed into something actually tangible, as you'll see. Upon considering the powerful but common pairing of pineapple and coconut, flavours which, when united, are loved by so many, it got me thinking about other possible combinations, and which types of flours will go better with different ingredients. These thoughts are still in seed form, but the first experiment is written up here, ready for you to sample and give any feedback: how easy is the recipe to follow; how your ingredients worked together; whether you have any improvements. I have a coule of my own amentments, which I'll tell you after the recipe.
Without further ado, here is my recipe for a Pina Colada Loaf.
400g strong white bread flour
50g dessicated coconut
60g dried pineapple
Approx. 1/3 of a tin of coconut milk
1tbsp dried active yeast (I use Allinson Dried Active Yeast)
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Before doing anything else, put the dried pineapple in a bowl and cover with hot water. Leave for five minutes (set a timer if you like) then drain out water and remove pineapple, patting off excess water with a piece of kitchen towel. Be careful not to leave the pineapple soaking for too long as it can become soggy and start to disintegrate.
Whilst the pineapple is soaking, prepare the yeast. Put 150ml warm to hot water from the tap (the instructions on the tin say 1/3 boiling water from the kettle, 2/3 cold tap water, so do whichever you are comfortable with) into a bowl, add 1 tsp sugar and stir to dissolve. Add a tbsp yeast and stir to combine, then set aside for ten minutes until risen.
Five minutes for the pineapple will probably be up by this point, so you can re-set the timer to ten minutes for the yeast. Chop the pineapple pieces into smaller chunks.
Prepare the other ingredients in a large bowl.
Add the flour, salt and dessicated coconut and mix together with a wooden spoon.
Locate your yeast and check out how well it's risen. This always amazes me, can you tell?!
Add the honey, two tbsps coconut milk, the yeast and the pineapple to the dry ingredients, and mix well with a wooden spoon, bringing the dry ingredients over onto the wet until it forms a rather sticky dough.
If you find the mixture is too dry, sparingly add more coconut milk until it comes together, but be careful not to soak the dough.
A note regarding coconut milk. I recently discovered the coconut milk pictured in my ingredients photo. I only bought it in Tesco, but it's a million times better than any coconut milk I've ever used. It's made by Pride, which I think are a proper eastern foods producer, and it is so unbelievably thick that it has a quite different consistency to what I've used before. So if your coconut milk is the usual runny stuff, be particularly sparing with your adding of extra, just so you don't accidentally add too much and there's no going back. 1/3 of a tin will probably still be right, just don't add it all at once.
The dough will be quite sticky, so flour a surface and prepare to knead for about five minutes. Keep the flour jar to hand, as you will want to re-flour your hands and the surface frequently. Having said that, this dough develops really quickly and becomes lovely and elastic.
Once kneaded, shape into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl covered with oiled clingfilm for around two hours until doubled in size.
Once doubled in size, prepare a baking sheet by oiling it lightly, knock back the dough very briefly on the floured surface (very briefly because it's still sticky!), shape into a ball, place on the baking tray with a piece of oiled cling film covering it, and set aside for around 30 minutes until doubled in size. Pre-heat the oven to fan 200C.
Bake for 25 minutes until golden and hollow-sounding when the base is tapped.
Now, I could tell you to place on a baking tray and leave to cool, but why would you do that when you can eat it fresh out of the oven, slathered with butter??? You may want to place it on a cooling rack while you prepare your lunch table though...
Now please allow me to say that I do realise this loaf is gargantuan! And yes, it was just Husb and I eating it, but we did not consume it all in one go! It was very moreish however, and it was extremely hard to stop picking up those freshly sliced wedges, loading them with butter and munching on them. Can I tell you how much I LOVE lunches which involve solely bread? A bread which is so interesting that it requires nothing but butter, and a piece of fruit afterwards for balance! It's fun to make the bread, interesting to see how it tastes, but so enjoyable to eat something which is so inherently simple.
Possible alternative aproaches in this recipe that immediately spring to mind are mainly related to the cooking stage, namely, what sort of tin you use. I would recommend trying out baking the loaf in a 20cm round, deep cake tin. Since the loaf would be deeper as it would be restricted to the size of the tin rather than being able to spread out as with using a flat baking sheet, you may need to increase the cooking time by 5-8ish minutes. Remember to lightly oil the tin and allow to double in size, as with the recipe above. I also thought about adding raisins, but decided to keep it pure pina colada (ok, I know it contains no Malibu...) If you wanted to add them, just soak beforehand, like the pineapple.
There are some rather hilarious outtakes for this recipe involving me attempting to plait the loaf subsequent to the first prove. Unfortunately I don't have time now to add them to the post if I want to go to bed any time soon. but let me save you the trouble and tell you now that this dough does not want to be plaited and will fall apart if you attempt it. Feel free to prove me wrong though (no pun intended!)
I hope you ate some fantastic morsels this weekend.